Cablegate: Nigeria 2009 National Trade Estimate

DE RUEHUJA #2197/01 3121234
P 071234Z NOV 08




E.O. 12598: N/A

1. The following information is Nigeria's 2009 National Trade
Trade Summary
2. The U.S. goods trade deficit with Nigeria was $30.0 billion in
2007, an increase of $4.4 billion from $25.6 billion in 2006. U.S.
goods exports in 2007 were $2.8 billion, up 24.8 percent from the
previous year. Corresponding U.S. imports from Nigeria were $32.8
billion, up 17.6 percent. Nigeria is currently the 50th largest
export market for U.S. goods. The stock of U.S. foreign direct
investment (FDI) in Nigeria was $339 million in 2006 (latest data
available), down from $1.2 billion in 2005. U.S. FDI in Nigeria is
concentrated largely in nonbank holding companies and the wholesale
trade sectors.
Import Policies - Tariffs

3. In September 2008, the Nigerian government issued the 2008 - 2012
Common External Tariff (CET) Book that harmonizes its tariff with
its West African neighbors under the Economic Community of West
African States (ECOWAS) Common External Tariff (CET). Nigeria has
been partially implementing the CET since 2005. The new tariff
regime has five tariff bands and import duties have been reduced on
a number of items such as rice, cigars, and manufactured tobacco.
The five CET tariff bands are: zero duty on capital goods,
machinery, and essential drugs not produced locally; 5% on imported
raw materials; 10% on intermediate goods; 20% on finished goods; and
35% on goods in specific industries that the government seeks to
protect. Adoption of the CET is part of the ongoing economic
reforms aimed at improving Nigeria's trade and investment
environment and harmonization of economic policies in the subregion.
There remains resistance within the Nigerian government and
Nigerian private sector to further trade reforms.

4. Companies state that high tariffs, nontransparent valuation
procedures, frequent policy changes and unclear interpretations by
the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) continue to make importing
difficult, expensive, and often create bottlenecks for commercial
activities. Some importers complain that tariffs are excessively
high and that the Nigerian government sometimes uses arbitrary
reference prices for valuation purposes. This problem is aggravated
by Nigeria's dependence on imported raw materials and finished goods
and affects both foreign and domestic manufacturers. Reportedly,
many importers resort to undervaluing and smuggling to avoid paying
full tariffs. Transparent and proper implementation of the new
tariff regime as contained in the new tariff book should resolve
most, if not all the problems highlighted.
Non-Tariff Trade Barriers
5. Though the government continues to ban certain imports, citing
the need to protect local industries, the new tariff book
significantly reduces the number of items on the import prohibition
list from 44 to 26. Items removed from the list include corn;
sorghum; millet; wheat flour; crude vegetable oil; biscuits; sugar
confectioneries (including white chocolate); fresh and dried fruit;
millet; flowers (either fresh or plastic); toothpaste; envelopes;
diaries; greeting cards; exercise books; bentonites; barites;
calendars; cutlasses; axes; pick axes; spades; shovels; fully built
mudguards; wheel barrows; and electric generating sound proof
casings. Items remaining on the import prohibition list include:
bird's eggs; cocoa butter, powder, and cakes;; pork; beef; live
birds; frozen poultry; refined vegetable oil and fats; cassava;
bottled water; spaghetti; noodles; fruit juice in retail packs;
nonalcoholic beverages (excluding energy drinks); certain textile
products; and bagged cement (companies awarded concessions to import
bagged cement for a limited time to bridge supply gaps will continue
to import until the concessions lapse).
Customs Administration
6. Nigeria practices a destination inspection policy for imports.
Under this policy, all imports are inspected on arrival into
Nigeria, rather than at the ports of origin. Nigerian port
practices continue to present major obstacles to trade. The
country's long list of import prohibited items coupled with
incorrect declaration of goods by importers result in 95 percent of
containers being physically examined. This drastically delays the

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clearing process and exponentially increases costs. Nigeria's
uneven application of import and labeling regulations make importing
high value perishable products difficult. Disputes between Nigerian
agencies over the interpretation of regulations often cause delays,
and frequent changes in customs guidelines slow the movement of
goods through Nigerian ports. These factors can contribute to
product deterioration and may translate into significant losses for
importers of perishable goods. Importers report erratic application
of customs regulations, long clearance procedures, high berthing and
unloading costs, and corruption.

7. Realizing that delays at the ports significantly increases the
cost of doing business in Nigeria, the Nigerian government plans to
implement 48-hour cargo clearance at the ports. Roads coming in and
out of the ports are decaying, and over-usage results in
around-the-clock traffic congestion. There is no rail system
transporting freight in and out of ports. Despite the 48-hour
custom clearance policy, congestion leads to ships queuing up to
berth at cargo terminals and containers waiting to be transported
out of the ports. The chokepoints resulting from the lack of
infrastructure at and around the ports affect the efficiency at
which goods can processed through the ports for export. Currently
over 15 agencies are represented at the ports: in a bid to achieve
the set target, the Nigerian government plans to withdraw all
agencies, apart from customs, from the ports and improve the
technical capacity of customs to handle special cargos through
continuous training of personnel. There are also plans to automate
all customs payments.
Standards, Testing, Labeling, and Certification
--------------------------------------------- --
8. Rules concerning sanitary and phytosanitary standards, testing,
and labeling are well defined, but bureaucratic hurdles slow the
import approval process. Regardless of origin, Nigeria requires
that all food, drug, cosmetic, and pesticide imports be accompanied
by certificates of analysis from manufacturers and appropriate
national authorities; and specified animal products, plants, seeds,
and soils must be accompanied by proper inspection certificates. By
law, items entering Nigeria must be labeled exclusively in the
metric system. U.S. producers and exporters note that relabeling
goods to meet this requirement is expensive and limits U.S. exports
to Nigeria. The NCS is charged with preventing the entry of
products with dual or multiple markings, but such items are often
found in Nigerian markets.

9. The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control
(NAFDAC) is charged with protecting Nigerian consumers from
fraudulent or unhealthy products. The agency continues to focus
special attention on eliminating the illicit importation of
counterfeit and expired pharmaceuticals, particularly from East and
South Asia. NAFDAC's limited capacity for carrying out inspections
and testing contributes to what critics have characterized as an
occasionally heavy handed or arbitrary approach to regulatory
enforcement, which has sometimes led to delays in clearance of
legitimate food imports.

10. Although Nigeria has no laws governing agricultural
biotechnology or biosafety, the government is generally supportive
of biotechnology. An enabling regulatory framework for
biotechnology is in the early stages of consideration. The Federal
Ministry of Environment has presented draft biosafety legislation to
the National Council on Environment, the highest decision-making
body on environmental issues. If approved by the Council on
Environment, the legislation will be sent forward to the National
Executive Council of Ministers for ratification and then, if
ratified, to the National Assembly for its consideration. The draft
bill generally portrays products of biotechnology as safe for animal
and human consumption; however, it includes a mandatory labeling
Government Procurement
11. Nigeria is not a signatory to the General Procurement Agreement
(GPA). The government has made modest progress on its pledge to
conduct an open and competitive bidding process for government
procurement. The Public Procurement Act, which was signed into law
in June 2007, established the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) in
place of the Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit. The
public procurement reforms are aimed at ensuring that the
procurement process for public projects adheres to international
standards for competitive bidding. The BPP acts as a clearing house

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for government contracts and monitors the implementation of projects
to ensure compliance with contract terms and budgetary restrictions.
Procurement above 50 million naira ($419,000) is subject to review
by the BPP. The 36 state governments have also agreed to pass the
Public Procurement Act in their respective states.

12. Foreign companies incorporated in Nigeria receive national
treatment, government tenders are published in local newspapers, and
a "tenders" journal is sold at local newspaper outlets. U.S.
companies have won government contracts in several sectors.
Unfortunately, many companies that have won contracts have
subsequently had difficulty in getting paid, often as a result of
delays in the national budget process.

13. The National Petroleum Investment and Management Services
Agency's approval is required for all procurement in the energy
sector above $500,000. Approval processes are slow and can
significantly increase the time and resources required for a given
Export Subsidies and Other Export Promotions
14. Nigeria's government administers various export incentives such
as tax concessions, export development funds, capital asset
depreciation allowances, and foreign currency retention programs in
addition to operating Free Trade Zones, and Export Processing Zones.
According to the 2008 - 2012 CET Book, most concessions, waivers or
exemptions have been stopped; however, the Nigerian Export Promotion
Council will continue to implement the Export Expansion Grant scheme
to improve non-oil export performance.
Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Protection
15. Nigeria is a party to the World Intellectual Property
Organization (WIPO) Convention, the Berne Convention, and the Paris
Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, the Patent
Cooperation Treaty, and the Patent Law Treaty and has signed the
WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms
Treaty. Legislation intended to establish a legal framework for an
IPR system that complies with WTO obligations has been pending in
the National Assembly for several years.

16. The government's lack of institutional capacity to address IPR
issues is a major constraint to enforcement. Relevant Nigerian
institutions suffer from low morale, poor training, and limited
resources. Despite Nigeria's active participation in the
conventions cited above and growing interest among Nigerians in
seeing their intellectual property protected, piracy is rampant.
Counterfeit automotive parts, pharmaceuticals, business and
entertainment software, music and video recordings, and other
consumer goods are sold openly, and piracy of books and optical disc
products is also a problem. Industry reports contend that
intellectual property infringers from other countries appear
increasingly active in using Nigeria as a base for the production of
pirated goods. Efforts to combat the sale of counterfeit
pharmaceuticals have yielded some results.

17. Patent and trademark enforcement remains weak, and judicial
procedures are slow and reportedly subject to corruption. (See
"Other Barriers" section.)

18. Nigeria's broadcast regulations do not permit rebroadcast or
excerpting of foreign programs unless the station has an affiliate
relationship with a foreign broadcaster. This regulation is
generally respected, but some cable providers illegally transmit
foreign programs. The National Broadcasting Commission monitors the
industry and is responsible for punishing infractions.

19. Almost no foreign feature films have been legally distributed in
the country in the last two decades. Widespread pirating of foreign
and domestic videotapes discourages the entry of licensed
distributors. In 2004, the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC)
launched an anti-piracy initiative named "Strategy against Piracy"
(STRAP). The Nigerian police force, working closely with the NCC,
has raided enterprises producing and selling pirated software and
videos and that three high profile charges have been filed against
IPR violators. The Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes
Commission has also been active in IPR enforcement. The Nigerian
government also included pirated materials in the list of prohibited
imports in the 2008 - 2012 CET Book (new tariff book), which has
given NCS authority to seize pirated works if imported into the

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Services Barriers
20. Foreign energy services suppliers are confronted with a number
of barriers in Nigeria, particularly with respect to movement of
personnel. Nigeria imposes quotas on foreign personnel based on the
issued capital of firms. Such quotas are especially strict in the
oil and gas sector and may apply to both production and services
companies. Oil and gas companies must hire Nigerian workers unless
they can demonstrate that particular positions require expertise not
found in the local workforce. Positions in finance and human
resources are almost exclusively reserved for Nigerians. Certain
geosciences and management positions may be filled by foreign
workers with the approval of the National Petroleum Investment and
Management Services (NAPIMS) agency. Each oil company must
negotiate its foreign worker allotment with NAPIMS. Significant
delays in this process and in the approval of visas for foreign
personnel present serious challenges to the energy industry in
acquiring the necessary personnel for their operations.
Investment Barriers
21. Investment in the petroleum sector is limited to existing joint
ventures or production-sharing agreements. Foreign investors may
buy shares of any Nigerian firm except firms on a "negative list"
(such as manufacturers of firearms, ammunition, and military and
paramilitary apparel). Foreign investors must register with the
Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission after incorporation under
the Companies and Allied Matters Decree of 1990. The Decree
prohibits nationalization or expropriation of a foreign enterprise,
except when necessary to protect the national interest.

22. Potential investors must contend with poor infrastructure,
complex tax administration procedures, confusing land ownership
laws, arbitrary application of regulations, corruption, and crime.
The sanctity of contracts is often violated and Nigeria's court
system for settling commercial disputes is weak and sometimes

23. Foreign oil companies are under significant pressure to increase
procurement from domestic firms. The Nigerian government, through
the Nigerian Content Division (NCD) of the Nigerian National
Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), set a target of 45 percent local
content for oil related projects by 2006 and 70 percent by 2010. In
many cases, sufficiently trained personnel and physical
infrastructure do not currently exist to meet the government's local
content targets. Although some domestic firms possess adequate
technical expertise, managerial and financial capabilities are often
lacking. Legislation to codify various levels of Nigerian content
in specific petroleum activities is pending in the National Assembly
and would have a major impact on oil services companies operating
and may reduce oil production if enacted.

24. The vast majority of natural gas flaring in Nigeria is done in
older, onshore and near offshore oilfields. Those fields are
typically operated by international oil companies working in a joint
venture arrangement with the state oil company as the majority
partner. Funding for joint venture operations, maintenance, and
equipment upgrades comes from joint venture partners in proportion
to their equity ownership. Over the past several years, the
Nigerian government has failed to fully fund its share of the joint
venture costs, reducing the ability of the operating partners to
install new anti-flare technology in these older oilfields.
Other Barriers
25. The Nigerian government has made efforts to eliminate financial
crimes such as money laundering and advance fee fraud (also known as
"419 fraud," named after the relevant section of the Nigerian
Criminal Code). In May 2007, Nigeria was admitted into the Egmont
Group of Financial Intelligence Units. In June 2006, the Financial
Action Task Force removed Nigeria's name from the list of
noncooperating countries and territories in the fight against money
laundering and other financial crimes.

26. International monitoring groups routinely rank Nigeria among the
most corrupt countries in the world, with the latest Transparency
International rating being121 down from 147 in 2007 out of 180
countries. Despite this downward trend, Nigeria's corruption levels
remains high and its main anti-corruption institution, the Economic
and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has faltered recently in its

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reputation and commitments on the issue. Some U.S. suppliers
believe they lose sales when they refuse to engage in illicit or
corrupt behavior. Other U.S. exporters say Nigerian businessmen and
officials understand that U.S. firms must adhere to the U.S. Foreign
Corrupt Practices Act, and they believe that the law's restrictions
help minimize their exposure to corruption.


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